Doosan Bears batsman Kim Jae-hwan produced his best batting performance since the start of the second half of the season, paving the way for the team to break out of a dreadful slump. The team pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind victory to keep its hopes alive for a top-five finish.

Doosan won the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Samsung Lions 8-7 on Monday at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. The team continued its momentum from a 3-0 victory the day before that ended the KIA Tigers’ 10-game winning streak.

Doosan had a lot to gain from the win. It narrowed the gap between them and sixth-place Doosan to two games, as fifth-place KIA fell to its second straight loss, going 2-12 against the first-place LG Twins.

Most encouragingly, Kim Jae-hwan’s bat is starting to show signs of life. Starting in the fifth spot in the lineup and batting in left field, Kim went 3-for-4 with a home run, RBI, and a walk, and played a crucial role in Doosan’s victory.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, with Doosan trailing 2-0, Jae-hwan came up big with runners on first and second. He lined a clean single up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run and give his team a crucial insurance run. Doosan immediately followed with an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 2-2.

Kim Jae-hwan’s performance continued. In his third at-bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, he recorded another clean hit up the middle. In his fourth at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, he lined a single to right-center field to take first base.

It’s the first time in three months that Kim has recorded three or more hits in a game this season since June 15 against the NC Dinos. He wiped away the disappointment of going hitless in his last two games and signaled a breakthrough from his slump.

Kim Jae-hwan did his part in the final at-bat as well. He led off the bottom of the ninth inning with Doosan trailing 6-7 and drew a walk against Samsung pitcher Kim Tae-hoon, giving his team a golden opportunity to rally from the brink of defeat.

After Kim Jae-hwan drew a walk, Doosan brought in pinch-hitter Kim Tae-geun. Lee then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Kang Seung-ho singled to tie the game.

With the bases loaded and one out, pinch-hitter Park Kye-beom hit an infield grounder that was misplayed by Samsung third baseman Ryu Ji-hyuk to seal the dramatic 8-7 victory, ending the four-hour battle. Kim Jae-hwan’s three hits and one walk proved to be the difference in the game.

In 108 games this season, Jae-hwan Kim is batting .225 (78-for-346) with nine home runs, 42 RBIs, and a .683 OPS. That’s an unbelievable performance considering his name value and career.

The second half hasn’t been as good. In 31 games, he’s batting .188 (18-for-96) with two home runs, 13 RBI, and a .570 OPS. The firepower in the Doosan lineup has also waned.

Against KIA on July 7, when Doosan snapped a two-game losing streak, Kim Jae-hwan was left out of the starting lineup altogether and remained on the bench until the end of the game. While this was a strategic decision by the coaching staff considering the opposing starter was left-hander Yang Hyun-jong, it doesn’t bode well for a number of reasons when a team’s best hitter is out of the lineup during a losing streak.먹튀검증

For now, Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop is putting his faith in Kim Jae-hwan. He knows that Jae-hwan has been working hard in training and is trying to break out of his slump, so he is hoping for a rebound. If Kim Jae-hwan comes back to life, Doosan will be closer to the fall baseball season.

“Kim Jae-hwan’s slump is getting longer, but we’re waiting for him to find his form,” Lee Seung-yeop said before the game against the KIA on July 7. “It’s frustrating for the team, but it’s even more frustrating for me. I’m doing a lot of training before and after the game with the hitting coach every day. I will help him recover his batting feeling as soon as possible,” he said.

If Kim Jae-hwan’s trademark hard-hitting and long ball production continues in the second half of the season, Doosan’s chances of a top-five finish could get a big boost. With 30 games left in the regular season, Doosan needs him more than any other player.

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